Environment & Science

New rules for Inglewood Oil Field to be proposed by Culver City

Pumpjacks at the Inglewood oil fields in California in March. Culver City intends to add regulation over the parts of the oil field within its boundaries.
Pumpjacks at the Inglewood oil fields in California in March. Culver City intends to add regulation over the parts of the oil field within its boundaries.
Richard Vogel/AP

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Culver City officials are seeking tighter regulations over a part of the Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oil field in the country.

Six years ago, Los Angeles County established the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District, which requires the oil and gas company Freeport McMoRan to monitor air pollution, minimize noise, and notify neighbors in emergencies.  

Culver City, community and environmental groups sued over the 2009 community standards district. A settlement of the claims in 2011 added more oversight to the oil field. 

Freeport’s Inglewood website points out that this is already the most regulated oil field in the country.

But Culver City wants more regulation within the 10 percent of the oil field within its boundaries, says councilwoman Megan Sahli-Wells.

“You know we were basically shut out of the process and the resulting regulations did not satisfy the community,” she says. “We just feel like we need to go further, deeper and be more protective than what the county has proposed.”

Sahli-Wells says Culver City is considering  “how much buffer do you have between peoples homes and active drilling, what are we going to do with things like hydraulic fracturing, are we going to allow it if so under what conditions.”

Culver City has started an environmental review process in a run-up to a likely vote on an ordinance. The city is considering how much of a buffer to have between drilling and houses, whether to permit hydraulic fracturing, and possible local protections for water.